The wonderful Lake District – part one

In June Ellie and I went camping to the Lake District, partly so that we could visit another few National Trust houses. The Lake District is a very important place for the National Trust, not only due to the amount of land it looks after there but also as it is a key part of its history.

Canon Rawnsley, one of the founding members lived there and worked to enhance education and employment opportunities and one of the key contributors to protecting the land was the children’s author Beatrix Potter who lived there and bought land which she donated to the Trust.

We have visited a small bit of the Lake District before on whilst on holidays to Centre Parks but never actually been to the area for any length of time which is very remiss of us as it is only 1 1/2 hours from here and is the most glorious place.

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We stayed at Low Wray campsite which is owned by the Trust and is literally on the shores of Lake Windemere and right next to one of the properties we visited, Wray Castle. This is the view from the edge of the site. What an amazing place to stay and so cheap, 3 nights there only cost £54 which was a real bargain.It is a beautiful campsite with an outdoor pizza place and boat hire so if you are looking for a place to stay I would really recommend it.

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We were camped just behind this ridge on the right of the picture above, they also have tepees and camping pods for hire if you don’t have a tent.

In total we visited four Trust properties which I will post about later and a Trust owned pub , The Sticklebarn in the amazing Langdales.

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We also visited Grasmere and Derwentwater Lakes and the little town of Cockermouth which was also very beautiful. Just the drives were amazing in themselves, the scenery is truly breathtaking.

Lake district - Cannon's house

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I definitely want to go back and spend more time there, another place for the retirement list, only another 3 years, 8 months and 17 days to go until I can do that, not that I am counting 🙂

It is a wet and windy day today which is such a pity as the Jazz Festival is on this weekend in the village. I am volunteering tonight and all day tomorrow so hopefully lots of people will wrap up warm and come and visit anyway.

I am working on some more applique from the free gift at the moment so will be able to show you some of that next week. Hope that you all have a nice week ahead and thanks for visiting.

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Another freebie to play with

I was actually looking at sewing magazines when I found my latest free gift, I am interested in getting more sewing patterns and know that the ones that come with magazines are often very nice. I have signed up for a trial of one so that arrives next month.

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However I spotted the latest edition of Today’s Quilter with a really lovely set of applique shapes as the free gift and couldn’t resist.

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I would love to build up my stock of shapes. Lori Holt  from Bee in my Bonnet has some fab sets but they are not easily available in the UK and the shipping from the US makes them very expensive so I have not bought any yet.

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The magazine also has a pattern for a cute cushion but I was not sure who I could give that to but thought a little pouch would be more useful.

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The shapes are lovely and there are lots of ways to combine them as well as using them singly.

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Being a bit of a numpty and not looking at the instructions in the magazine I went ahead and cut the shapes straight out from the fabric forgetting that it would have been easier to apply the fusible web then draw round the shapes on that then cut out! I will remember for next time.

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I just need to zig zag the outlines before attaching the bird’s wing and get some more of the Liberty fabric I have used for the bird for the base of the bag. The denim is from my stock of jeans for recycling as usual.

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I have had another busy weekend as at the moment I am teaching Saturdays but that will finish in a month so I can really crack on with the gifts. I am eagerly awaiting the 17th Oct when Jenny’s next Stitchery Club is ready as she has the cutest design for Christmas stitching which I am planning to make lots of!

Hope that you have a good week ahead, mine is a bit quieter and then we have the Jazz Festival at the weekend, here’s hoping for good weather for that. Take care and thanks for visiting.

Lots of lovely stitching!

Although I have not done much these past few weeks I have managed to get a few finishes done and a new project started. I am planning to make as many Christmas gifts as possible this year so have started in plenty of time, (I hope!).

This project was started in early June so it has taken a long time but I have really enjoyed it. It is another Jenny of Elefantz design of course from her Stitchery Club and I am going to make this into a folder to store part completed embroidery.

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I loved doing all of the different stitches, some I had never used before like blanket stitch and I think they have all come out quite neatly for a first attempt.

The second one was a lot quicker and you can find the details here in my blog post if you wish to buy the design.

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I started this towards the end of last month and was originally going to put an initial in the middle but you know how much I love hexis and just thought the colours of this Liberty fabric were so suited to the embroidery. This will become another pouch.

Apologies for the fact that the photos look very blue! We have very little light today though we have had some beautiful autumn days with sun and blue skies. I am starting a second one of these tonight and will maybe put an initial in that one.All of the threads are either Silk Mill for the solids or Caron Waterlillies from Sew and So for the variegated threads.

I have another update for you at the weekend so until then enjoy yourselves, take care and thanks for visiting.

Another glorious cloister

We stayed over in Gloucester on the way back from our recent trip to Caldicot as we really wanted to go and see the cathedral. I knew that it had the most wonderful cloisters and I really love these so was excited to see them.

The docklands area where we stayed has been redeveloped with a mix of conversions of the old warehouses and new flats, shops and places to eat so we enjoyed having a quick wander round there and on through to the cathedral area where we say a little shop and exhibition devoted to Beatrix Potter’s, ‘The Tailor of Gloucester. We saw a lot of her original drawings when we visited the Lake District in the summer, which I have still to post about.

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The cathedral itself is stunning, there are the most beautiful little chapels and stained glass windows everywhere.

My favourite was this painted one, which was done in the late 1800s and it gorgeous.

Everywhere you look there are altars and carved ceilings as well as some notable tombs including Edward 2nd who is portrayed by one of the members of our re-enactment group.

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The best bit for me was definitely the cloisters, not only the carved fan ceilings which were stunning, but all the beautiful stained glass.

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I took lots of pictures of designs as inspiration for the future book I intend to write of embroidery, goldwork and blackwork designs inspired by historic places that I have visited.

I especially love these little flower designs. I am not sure when they were made but they are clearly very old, you can see how bowed the window in the bottom picture is.

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We were also very excited as there was a film crew setting up for work on a new TV series, ‘The Spanish Princess’, about one of my all time favourite historical people, Katherine of Aragon.

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Look at the beautiful goldwork Tudor roses on these banners. I am really looking forward to seeing the series when it come out if I can find it as it is being made for American TV. Here is a sneak peek of the filming at Wells Abbey, the costumes look stunning.

Autumn is well and truly here and the trees look lovely. I have only today off this week as we have been continuing with induction for the new students so am just going to do a little bit of sewing this afternoon. Most evenings I have been far too tired to do anything more than about 10 stitches so am making very slow progress on my latest embroideries!

I have a quieter week ahead so will be able to spend more time on fun things. Hope you are having fun with whatever you are doing, take care and thanks for visiting.

Gentle (or frantic!) domesticity

The lovely Jenny of Elefantz has a Facebook group as well as her web page, called Gentle Domesticity, partly inspired by the book, The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket. I love seeing all the things that people have made on that page and she also gives free designs away there as well, as she is not only very talented but very kind. It is a closed group so you have to ask to join.

One of her latest freebies is a set of monogram pincushions, she is uploading them weekly and they are on her blog and we have just had the letter D uploaded. These ones will be free until the 4th Oct so if you are interested please check them out soon. This is the picture of Jenny’s D one from her blog. I love it , it is so neat and the stitching either side really of the letter really sets it off and I think the little teapot pin is wonderful 🙂

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Jenny writes a lot about homemaking and domesticity on her blog and I really enjoy her posts about recipes and things she has made for her home. I love cooking and have really enjoyed being at home more over the summer to cook.I have just made the most delicious spinach, feta and butternut squash loaf for work lunches, the recipe is here if you want to try it and mine did look very much like the picture below! I love Sainsburys magazine and always get lots of great recipes from there.

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Another one of my favorite sources of recipes is the Tasty website and I like the videos that they have,they come up on my Facebook feed a lot which is where I got this recipe for chilli with cornbread dumplings which uses my favourite cooking implement, my slow cooker.

Now that term has started it is back to more frantic than gentle domesticity and as I am not going to be able to get home early in the evenings due to a timetable change I have been trying to streamline the menu planning and shopping. I have not tried any of these recipes yet but this site, Creme de la Crumb , has some really good quick recipes which are much appreciated.

Having been a full time teacher as well as a mum since Jake started school I have always menu planned but I have spent some time this weekend creating a spreadsheet with all our favourite recipes in categories so that I can easily plan a month’s worth of menus at a time.

I love looking at other people’s menu planning for new ideas, I am secretly addicted to all those videos on Youtube about people’s bargain food shopping and the menu planning and organising for very large families. I find it fascinating having a glimpse into people’s lives and am always getting new ideas for making things more efficient.I truly would love to have more time to spend at home, that is why I am so looking forward to retirement so that I can spend far more of my life practising the domestic arts!

I have had a really lovely domestic weekend sorting lots of things out in preparation for the busy times ahead. I hope that you have a good week and I will be back soon. Thanks, as always for visiting.

Sorting out the stock

We had a lovely last event at Caldicot Castle, the weather was mostly very good which always helps and it was great to see everyone one last time before the end of the season. As always I am sad in one way but with the colder weather on its way am looking forward to cosy nights in with the candles lit and lots of stitching!

We visited Gloucester Cathedral on the way home so have a lot of beautiful pictures from there to sort for you, lots more inspiration for embroidery designs.

Glos cathedral 1

I have spent part of the morning labeling all of the stock for Yarndale, I finished the last two pouches this week. As last year I have used a lot of Liberty but tried to do something different this year in case I have customers coming back who have bought in previous years.

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Yarndale Stock 2

This year’s new stock has been quilting themed with pouches and baskets with blocks and hexagons on.

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Yarndale Stock 4

I still have some things left from last year like these sheep themed knitting pouches as well so have a nice bag of goodies on its way to Sarah.

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These pouches below all use recycled denim from old jeans and the lovely Liberty hexagon fabric for the bases.

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The pretty flower zips are from Buddly Crafts and I need to order more stock as have now run out of coloured ones.

I have finished the large stitches sampler from Jenny of Elefantz that I was working on and have just started two smaller circle monogram designs of hers from last month’s Stitchery Club. You can buy just this design from her Craftsy page here and I am going to the finished stitching into pouches for Christmas presents. Picture from Jenny’s Craftsy page.

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She has so many beautiful designs and I have just had a sneak peak at the Christmas stuff she is doing for next month. It is gorgeous and I am really looking forward to stitching them.

Term has started and I have had a very busy and very nice week getting to know all of the new first year students. It is so exciting for them and I really love this time of year, despite the very wet and windy weather, the trees look gorgeous and I have lots of nice things to look forward to in the next few months. Oh and I have just booked my flights for Spain for New Year so I am very pleased about that.

I am planning lots of stitching on the sofa this weekend while watching Netflix. I am currently enjoying watching Star Trek Voyager again, our outfits for Steampunks in Space in November are going to be based on the uniforms from this series so we have been busy collecting things for those.

Hope that you have a lovely weekend, take care and thanks for visiting.

Lorca, the goldwork in action

I am catching up with all the things that I have not posted about over the summer. At Easter, before the trip to Seville, we visited Lorca, a small city in the mountains a couple of hours from La Marina to see the Good Friday fiesta.

We have wanted to see this for a few years since we went on  our trip to see the goldwork museums. The four museums house all of the robes and banners that are used in this festival and we were absolutely amazed by them then. Two of the groups that organise the festival, the Blue and the Purple ones, are responsible for the religious side with the icons and the White and Scarlet organise the armies and other groups.

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We really had no idea of the scale of the festival though, what we saw in the museum was only a fraction of what filled the streets. We had a couple of hours wandering around watching everyone get ready and had drinks and something to eat before finding a spot to watch. It was quite bizzare seeing the streets filled with Roman soldiers and chariots and Egyptian girls!

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There are stands where you can buy seats for the parade so next year we will do that but we had a pretty good view of events from our little spot. We were right behind the camera crew so we could see a lot on their monitor as well.

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Apologies for the slightly blurry pictures but I wanted you to see the scale of the floats. As well as the Roman and Egyptian armies and their chariots there were horses racing up and down the street and the huge floats carrying icons , Roman Emperors, Cleopatra and her consorts and even the Pope!

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A truly incredible spectacle and the amount of work that went into the costumes is amazing. Some of the larger group ones were made by machine using ready made goldwork but most of the main characters are hand embroidered and it is truly stunning to see the mass of beautiful work that goes into this event.

A really great celebration of the art of the stitcher and another reason to love Spain! This is only a very small city and not famous for anything apart from this parade so we really wondered how they got to be producing something on this scale every year. We are going to go back next year and hopefully will book seats so we can have an even better view!

I am planning more pouch making this afternoon as Yarndale is in a couple of weeks and I need to get all my stock finished. Then it will be on to the Christmas ornaments, I have made a few of different types but need to decide on which will be the design I make six of for this year for my group of friends.I think I might go with baubles as have not done any of these for a very long time and have just acquired a huge stash of polystyrene balls from a local shop that was closing down.

Hope you have a lovely rest of the weekend and week ahead. We are off to Caldicot Castle for our last event so are hoping for good weather to end the season with.

Take care and thanks for visiting.